Reflections on Thompson School Board

I realize that posts have been few and far between. If only there were a way to squeeze more hours in a day I could juggle family, work, and efforts to improve public education perfectly! The reality is that there are only 24 hours in a day and so here is a much needed update on the Thompson School District.

The election results in November 2013 created a sense of hope that the hard work necessary to address the issues affecting fiscal stability and student achievement in TSD would finally be undertaken. We all want to change TSD from being a “choice out” district to a district that is “choice in.” To do so requires objectivity, willingness to identify problems, asking the hard questions, openness to new ideas, and recognizing that change is a bumpy, winding road that with patience leads to great things.

The problem is that it is difficult to have any discussions of substance when board members Montagu, Howard, and Ward are still intent on creating a hostile environment based on a false negative narrative that they themselves have created.

These three board members have continued to falsely claim that the Board Majority members believe the district is failing and take the position that any questioning of data is the same as accusing district staff of lacking integrity. How is this helpful?

TSD does have many successes, such as the millions in scholarships for high school graduates, the Agricultural Program, the Business Incubator, the MPC’s new facility scorecards, and improvements in literacy growth. We definitely need to celebrate these successes!

The Board also needs to be able to discuss areas where improvement is needed without fear of being accused of harming the district, having some right wing agenda, or wanting to destroy public education.

School Board Directors are community members elected to govern a school district by setting policies (policies have the force of law) that dictate standards, operational procedures, academic performance, and fiscal standards. The Directors conduct the business of overseeing the district at board meetings that are open to the public for observation and public comment as allowed by policy.

It is important to remember that the board meetings are where official government business is conducted, and that we elected the directors to represent and govern on our behalf. I understand we are all passionate about public education, but this is no excuse for citizens to disregard established decorum for board meetings, nor should Directors engage in argumentative posturing and filibustering.

When the Board reconvenes in August, I hope that all Directors focus on doing what is best for TSD and put aside personal grievances so that professional discussion and debate on the issues can lead to solutions that will make Thompson a school district of choice.

As always, if you have any questions or comments about the articles written please don’t hesitate to send an email to me at info@libertywatch.info or give me a call at 970-691-3446.

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